Some photographers develop a niche. While they may be good at many things, a photographer can be known for a certain type of work. For example, Mark J. Rebilas is well known and respected for his racing photography.
Racing photography isn’t as easy as it seems. Cars, bikes, whatever you’re shooting… They just go around and and around and around. That is unless you have a crash.
As morbid as it may sound, some of the most fantastic racing images are from colossal wipeouts. However, they’re not always easy to capture. They happen in the blink of an eye and being in position to capture them can sometimes mean that you (or your gear) is in harms way. In fact, Rebilas lost a remote setup to a drag car not too long ago.
While I haven’t had an opportunity to photograph anything that intense, I have captured a few local wipeouts this month.
The first was go-cart racing at a Fourth of July celebration in Durand, Ill. The annual tradition has high-powered carts racing laps around the town square. When I arrived, a race had just started. I took one test frame to check my exposure when a cart started to flip right in front of me. I aimed my camera and fired. While I missed the cart inverted with the rider still in the seat, I was able to catch the cart flipping away as the rider slid across the ground.
The other wreck I’ve caught this month was just this past weekend at the ABA BMX Midwest Nationals at Searls Park. While I was there, plenty of people crashed. It was just hard to be in the right place at the right time to get the shot. I happened to get one on the first stretch out of the gate. I’m not sure what sent the rider to the dirt but the rest of the pack seemed completely oblivious that it was happening.
Luckily, neither racer seemed to be seriously injured.
I’m sure the more racing I cover, the more wipeouts I’ll catch.